Belfast's nightlife is legendary - from historic pubs to thumping nightclubs, there is plenty to satisfy night owls. The main areas to hit are the Cathedral Quarter, where the coolest venues await, the University Quarter for midweek imbibing, and the Entries - narrow passageways that hold Belfast’s oldest drinking saloons. It’s worth noting that pubs and bars empty early during the week. Visit the tourist office for music and entertainment listings.
Bars in Belfast
Belfast has plenty of excellent Victorian boozers, but Bittles is among the more curious. Shaped almost like a tower, the red interior of this pokey bar is decorated with weird, celebratory paintings of key Belfast figures and other outlandish knick-knacks. The Guinness here is great, and many of its ales come from local producers, but it’s the wealth of whiskey that’s worth exploring most.Address: , Musgrave Channel Road, Belfast, BT1 9FZ
Telephone: +44 28 9031 1088.
Crown Liquor Saloon
It’s impossible to visit Belfast and not drink in its most illustrious bar, the Crown Liquor Saloon. Built by Italian craftsmen, who were in the city crafting Catholic churches (or so the story goes), this former Victorian gin palace dazzles with its craved ceilings, tiled floors, stained-glass windows and period gas lamps. Still a local’s boozer, you’ll have to arrive early if you want to sit in a snug.Address: , 46 Great Victoria Street, Belfast, BT2 7BA
Telephone: +44 28 9024 3187.
The Morning Star
Often unseen down Pottinger's Entry, a passageway between busy Ann Street and the hustling High Street, The Morning Star is a fine Victorian saloon that dates back to at least 1810. Deceptively large, it’s a local’s boozer with a buffed wooden interior, terrazzo flooring and horseracing the box. If you have one too many Guinnesses, there are often lunches steaming under a hot plate in the corner.Address: , 17-19 Pottingers Entry, Belfast, BT1 4DT
Telephone: +44 28 9023 5986.
Clubs in Belfast
Limelight is a student venue complex that runs alternative club nights and gigs. Club nights take place every night of the week except for Tuesday and Sunday and depending on the day the music ranges from pop and rock to hip hop to techno. Notable artists that performed here include Arctic Monkeys, Blur and Paul Weller.Address: , 17 Ormeau Avenue, Belfast, BT2 8HD
Telephone: +44 289 032 5968.
Love and Death Inc
Entirely unlike anything else on the Belfast party scene, Love and Death Inc is a rakishly cool cocktail bar and club that’s secreted like a speakeasy. Out front, its candlelit cocktail attic has comic books for menus and superhero toys hanging from the ceiling, while the exposed brick walls and pumping sound system of its club plays funk, soul, disco, hip hop and whatever gets the floor moving.Address: , 10a Ann Street, Belfast, BT1 4EF
Telephone: +44 28 9024 7222.
Unpretentious and a little bit shabby, this is the perfect venue for those seeking a casual night out. Housed in an old paint store the location hasn’t changed much over the years and so too has the warm and welcoming atmosphere. Expect to hear everything from rock and punk to jazz and blues.Address: , 130 University Street, Belfast, BT7 1HH
Telephone: +44 289 032 5922
Live music in Belfast
Duke of York
One of the remaining bastions of old Belfast in the Cathedral Quarter, the Duke of York embraces its past with copper-topped tables, an overwhelming collection of Guinness memorabilia and a whiskey selection that would see out prohibition. Traditional music is played around a battered backroom table; just visit late evening, so the bus trip tourists have time to disappear.Address: , 7-11 Commercial Court, Belfast, BT1 2NB
Telephone: +44 289 024 1062.
Stubbornly old fashioned, the higgledy-piggledy Kelly’s Cellars feels more like a country inn than a central city pub. With whitewashed walls and low ceilings, not much has changed since revolutionary Henry Joy McCracken hid beneath its bar from British soldiers in the 1700s. Traditional musicians come from across Ireland to play most nights.Address: , 30-32 Bank Street, Belfast, BT1 1HL
Telephone: +44 28 9024 6058.
The John Hewitt Bar
Radical poet and socialist John Hewitt wasn’t really one for a raucous night on the Guinness, but this traditional bar - named in his honour - more than makes up for lost time. Located in the Cathedral Quarter with decent draft ales, generous gins and live music sessions.Address: , 51 Donegall Street, Belfast, BT1 2FH
Telephone: +44 28 9023 3768.